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LAHORE: About 2 million US dollars are being smuggled to Afghanistan on daily basis, said well-placed sources in the Collectorate of Customs.

According to the sources, requesting anonymity, some 15000 labourers cross the border through Chaman and Torkham on daily basis and each of them carries in between 10,000 and 30,000 US dollars to Afghanistan.

It may be noted that the exchange rate of the US dollar has hit through the roof in the recent past.

The exchange rate of the US dollar had suddenly rebounded after the change of government in Afghanistan.

Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has been hopeful to control the upsurge in the US dollar rate but no action has been materialized so far.

USD smuggling adds to pressure on weaker rupee

The sources said smuggling of US currency through airports has become negligible due to the detailed profiling of passengers, especially on all the Dubai-bound flights.

They said airports have been linked to WeBOC, an indigenously developed web-based computerized clearance system, providing end-to-end automated customs clearance of import and export goods. They said data of air passengers is being maintained on daily basis.

Pakistan Customs is very attentive to the situation and it has made it mandatory for all passengers to undergo thorough personal scrutiny and 100 percent declaration of currency through an automated process in order to ward off this nefarious illegal activity. The sources added that truck drivers are also involved in smuggling of the US dollars. They said the dollar market of Rawalpindi has become a hotspot in terms of the sale of US dollars for smuggling to Afghanistan.

In Peshawar, they said, Karkhana Bazaar and Yadgar Chowk are two other places where US dollars are bought and sold for smuggling purposes. The sources said that the Customs officials have carried out a crackdown against those involved in the smuggling of US currency.

According to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) spokesman, the FBR has taken stringent enforcement measures at the airports to eliminate the possibility of any such unethical practice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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